Science -- Political aspects -- France -- Paris -- History.
Memorialization -- Political aspects -- France -- Paris -- History.
In the City of Light the hegemonic right to affix identities is everywhere encoded in the commemorative nomenclature exhibited by streets and squares, statuary and monuments. The Paris city council's belated decision to grant space to a rue Lamarck, opened in 1875 and located far across the great city from the area surrounding the Jardin des Plantes where fellow scientists are memorialized, may be read as political metaphor. Indeed, such reading resurrects the institutional and political history of French science from the founding of the Jardin du Roi in 1635 to the anti-Darwinism of the late-nineteenth century.
This article offers a new reading of an understudied poem from Les Contemplations (1856), 'Le Rouet d'Omphale.' By analysing the poem's rich web of intra- and intertextual allusions, from Ovid and Catullus to Hugo's 'La Pente de la rêverie' (1831), William Shakespeare (1864) and Le Rhin (1845), it becomes clear that Hugo's fascination with the legend of Hercules and Omphale, a legend in which Hercules is humiliated and emasculated, is linked to his own terrors of non-existence that are intimately bound up with his insecurities about the act of creation.
Contemporary critics of Charles Baudelaire's 1863 prose poem "La Belle Dorothée" have interpreted the figure of the liberated female slave Dorothée as a slave of imitation of whiteness. Drawing on colonial history, postcolonial theory, as well as recent developments in Baudelairean criticism, this article focuses on the poem's formal features to argue for a reading of Dorothée as a successful embodiment of emancipation without cultural assimilation. (In French)
Baudelaire, Charles, 1821-1867. À une dame créole.
Ambiguity in literature.
This essay supplements existing readings of Baudelaire's sonnet "À une dame créole" (1845) by apprehending it not as a univocal piece centered on colonialist ambiguity, but as a locus of semantic plurality where this ambiguity coexists with its self-subversion. I argue that, by conferring polysemous connotations on the sonnet's key terms and by cultivating irony and the paradigms of illusion and representation, Baudelaire bars us from assigning a definite meaning to his composition, establishing it instead as a space of slippage and mobility. Lastly, I read the self-subversion of the text's apparently unquestionable colonialist ambiguity in its dramatic and lyrical intertexts as well as in its inclination for self-reflexivity which paradoxically reveal that the poet further distances himself from a position of detachment and power. (In French)
From the eighteenth century, interest in Hellenism had been stimulated by early travel accounts, and by researches into Greek religion. In France, archaeological findings and enthusiasm for Greek literature induced critical speculations which culminated with the placing in the Louvre of the Vénus de Milo. Public fervour extended beyond pictorial and plastic arts into bourgeois tastes. Victor de Laprade's poem "Psyché" based on a theme found in decorative arts expressed this taste. Approaches to phenomena of Hellenic culture were subsumed into poetry about Greek female statues, notably Leconte de Lisle's own "Vénus de Milo" of 1846. Free of the political echoes of the poet's earlier poetry, this poem expresses admiration for the artistic integrity of the statue and converts visual experience into linguistic. Critical discussions, public taste and learned inquiry are transformed into creativity. (In French)
Vallès, Jules, 1832-1885 -- Criticism and interpretation.
Politics and literature -- France -- History -- 19th century.
Anarchism -- France.
Vallès's anarchism has often been seen in terms of his sensibility, his biography, and particularly his relationship with Proudhon. His writing and his theory of literature, however, have very little to do with Proudhonian aesthetics. Instead, Vallès's writing is best understood in the context of Bakunin's theories on literature and politics, as well as a current of literature in the second half of the nineteenth century that Jacques Dubois termed instantanéisme. Anarchist aesthetics and instantanéisme both reject politics; they are not based on the political commitment of the writer or the work, but rather on rupture and singularity. Vallès's work thus has to be distinguished from the various strands of realism and naturalism in the nineteenth century – from the mimetic tradition in general – and viewed within the much more tenuous current of the anarchist novel in the nineteenth century.
Two themes of Mallarmé's later work – the expansion of poetic language and the changing public role of literature – converge in Stéphane Mallarmé's 1895 poème critique [critical poem] "Bucolique." In her reading of the poem, Pies analyzes how the poem's dialogue between the poet's public and private selves and the use of blank space enact the expansion of poetic language that Mallarmé proposes in his later work, especially "La Musique et les lettres." Arguing that "Bucolique," like "Déplacement avantageux," traces a mental journey in which the flight from the city involves a return to the urban center, she suggests that "Bucolique" reveals the city, the site of public life, as a locus of poetry.
Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, 1808-1873 -- In literature.
This article takes as its point of departure the historically controverted detail of the makeup that Napoleon III was said to have worn on the battlefieds of Sedan. Tracing the origin of the Emperor's rouge to Victor Hugo's Les Châtiments (1853), it explores the intertextual connections that tie Zola's La Débacle (1892) to Hugo's historical writings on Napoleon III and the Second Empire (Les Châtiments, Napoléon le Petit, Histoire d'un crime). Reading the cosmetic detail and its figural associations within the discursive context of Hugo's writings, I argue that Zola draws on and recontextualizes Hugolian motifs of theatricality, histrionics, blood, corruption, contamination, and expiation with a view to humanizing, in the context of the defeat at Sedan, the vilified Hugolian figure of the Emperor. Like a palimpsest, the makeup reveals Zola's debt to a body of texts that lie at the foundation of the Rougon-Macquart's historical poetics. (In French)
Zola, Émile, 1840-1902 -- Criticism and interpretation.
Goncourt, Edmond de, 1822-1896 -- Criticism and interpretation.
Goncourt, Jules de, 1830-1870 -- Criticism and interpretation.
La présence nécessaire de personnages observateurs intermédiaires, entre le lecteur et le visible romanesque chez Zola, est la clé d'une dynamique descriptive qui mène tout objet de regard, animé ou non animé, vers une dissolution progressive. C'est là que réside une différence fondamentale entre le chef de file du naturalisme et les Goncourt, ses frères ennemis. Les créateurs de "l'écriture artiste" tournent en dérision, particulièrement dans Manette Salomon, la dictature d'une des techniques les plus célèbres des naturalistes, la délégation du regard descripteur à une instance intradiégétique. Ce faisant, ils inscrivent leurs romans dans une esthétique de l'éternité et de l'absolu qui s'oppose à l'esthétique de la temporalité et de la relativité zolienne.
At first glance, Anatole France's Le Lys rouge (1894) is a straightforward love story capitalizing on a fin-de-siècle vogue for medieval Italian art. Closer study, however, reveals a mordant satire of contemporaries' aesthetic pronouncements. A regular guest on the salon circuit, France was a privileged witness to contemporary taste and a powerful arbiter of aesthetic trends. Although Le Lys rouge is a work of fiction, his careful descriptions of fin-de-siècle taste and his sly references to real-life writers, artists, and collectors influenced his readers, while providing twenty-first century scholars with a valuable appreciation of late nineteenth-century French attitudes to art.